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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

VII
EGYPT DURING THE WAR
139
it is stated, were sent to France, and 8,230 to Mesopotamia, whilst at the time of the Armistice there appear to have been just over 100,000, besides about 35,000 assigned to transport and other services, actually employed in connection with the operations in Syria. The casualties in the Labour Corps are not given, but only those in the Camel and Donkey Transport Corps, amounting altogether to 713, of which the great majority were deaths from exposure. In his official despatches from the seat of war, General Allenby paid more than one tribute to the great importance of the services rendered by the Egyptian Labour and Transport Corps and to the excellence of the work done by them. Even if the official methods of calculation do not convey a misleading impression as to the call made in point of numbers from first to last on the people of Egypt, it represents a not inconsiderable percentage of a total male population of less than one and a half million between the age of seventeen and thirty, to which recruitment was chiefly confined. There is, fortunately, no reason to believe that the men were not on the whole well treated in the field and in camp. The tales of widespread cruelty and injustice can be dismissed as untrue. Harsh treatment and even brutality there may have been, but they were, at any rate, the exception, not the rule. The " Gippy " drivers in their blue galoubiyehs with their camels and their donkeys were very popular with our men, who knew how often their food and their drinking water itself depended on these transport services in an often waterless and roadless country. With regard to the Labour Corps, the following is another extract from the same "Record": " Those who have seen many thousands of Egyptian Labour Corps labourers on task work, either driving a cutting with pick and fasse through Palestine clay, or in their thousands carrying baskets of earth to pile up some railway embankment, will long remember such examples of intensive labour. No less striking was it to watch the line of laden boats leaving the storeships
1%
Morts of Alexandria, Port Said, Kantara, and Suez." In 1916, 10,463 men of the Egyptian Labour Corps,n depots and cotton markets to assis